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Happier occupants, achievable credit

It's hard to keep everyone comfortable in a building, but surveying will provide useful data. Giving occupants control over their environment can help increase comfort.

Photo – Tristan Roberts
To earn this credit, implement an occupant comfort survey and take steps to remedy problems identified through survey responses. The credit is readily achievable and can help make your occupants happier.

Cover all the categories

Project teams often make the mistake of using an incomplete survey format that doesn’t include questions covering each required occupant comfort category. To avoid this problem, use a recommended online survey tool or follow someone else’s template—see the Documentation Toolkit and Resources sections for samples.

Use the correct format

Be sure to use the correct format for collecting responses. Your survey must use a 7-point scale that ranges from very satisfied (+3) to very dissatisfied (-3). A value of zero represents a neutral response.

Survey the right individuals

Regular building occupants must be surveyed. If your project includes K-12 students, you must survey students in grade 6 (or age 12) and above. If you’re working with a hotel, you don’t have to survey guests (although you might want to). If your project is a warehouse or distribution center, you don’t have to survey occupants that work in spaces that are purposefully maintained outside normal comfort ranges, like refrigerated warehouses.

Corrective action and costs

Costs to develop and distribute the survey will be minimal if you use in-house staff and start with a template, or use an online service that does all this for you.

Make sure that you’re willing to take corrective action if you find 20% or greater dissatisfaction on any criteria. Some corrections just require adjusting set points. If you do have to make repairs or changes to systems there will be some cost, but it might also lead to savings by improving efficiencies in your mechanical or lighting systems.

Meeting the 30% response requirement

Project teams often find it challenging to meet the 30% response rate. Be sure to explain the purpose of the survey and the value of earning LEED certification. Emphasize the benefits to occupants. Be creative and fun. Use raffles or prizes—just keep the survey responses anonymous.

Very similar to LEED 2009

Teams must perform an occupant comfort survey every two years, at minimum, instead of once every five years under LEED 2009. Otherwise there are no substantial changes compared to LEED 2009.

Readiness Review Questions

  • Do you have the means to distribute an occupant comfort survey and tabulate the results? You can use an online survey tool (which will tabulate the results for you), email, or paper. 

  • Do you have a system in place for occupants to provide feedback on their individual comfort level on an ongoing basis? 

  • Are you prepared to take corrective action based on the survey results? 

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